Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Wisdom of the Ages

I was at a Chinese Restaurant recently and received a fortune cookie with the wonderful message in the photo.  This was quite a fortune and definitely a cut above what I am used to seeing in fortune cookies.  While I do not usually put much faith in what fortune cookies say, there are are some, like this one, that resonate with me.  I can only imagine that I have at my command the wisdom of the ages.  For all the things I might have ever wished for from being a musical virtuoso, a world class athlete, a renown man of letters, or being world-class wealthy, I think I would prefer to have at my command all the wisdom of the ages.
I immediately took a photo and posted it on Facebook.  What else do you do with such a fortune as this one?  I included the following words with photo: 

Wow. If I have just been bestowed with the wisdom of the ages, I hope I use it to benefit mankind. 
If I have had it all along... I have clearly squandered this gift.
These are good points.  I have to conclude that I have not had command of the wisdom of the ages all along.  If I did have command of this wisdom, it follows that I should have been aware of it at least on some level.  Given that I have not felt in command of such and that I have not had any influence on world hunger, world peace, poverty, pollution, preserving endangered species, or simplifying the US tax code is a clear indication to me that I have not had command of the wisdom of the ages. What if, the wisdom of the ages includes the intelligence not to tackle unsolvable problems such these?  What if, in some dichotomous twist, that one never knows if they have command of the wisdom of the ages?  These are sophomoric questions from back in the day when we all thought about becoming hippies.  The bottom line is that I doubt I have had command of this wisdom all along.
Maybe everyone, or at the minimum everyone with an internet connection, has access to the wisdom of the ages.  The Bible, The Koran, The Tao Te Ching, The Bhagavad Gita, and The Book of Mormon are all available online.  Every word of every philosopher of note is also online.  The poetry of the great masters of poetry in the world are online as are the great classic novels and epics.  Online, one can also access, history books and scientific treatises from antiquity up through when they started copywriting things.  In theory, almost everyone has access to the wisdom of the ages.  Access, however, is not command.  Command to me means like command of a language i.e. the ability to communicate in the language.  Likewise command of the wisdom of the ages means one should be able to utilize this wisdom in some fashion.
Clearly, if I have command of the wisdom of the ages, it is newly acquired.  Yet, I feel no different than before I cracked open that fortune cookie.  It must be noted however that since I read that fortune, I have been trying to be more and more profound with each word I speak or write.  
When at a loss, I do what I always do:  I google it.  I googled “wisdom of the ages” and quickly realized that my fortune was not all that special.  It seems that one of the great gurus of self-help, Dr. Wayne Dyer, wrote a book in 2002:  Wisdom of the Ages: 60 Days to Enlightenment.  It is available, used, for $.01 plus $3.98 for shipping.  This is much cheaper than the Chinese dinner but then without the fortune I never would have found the book.  


1 comment:

  1. Mark, I hope your fortune came from Mee Jun on Sheridan Road in Highwood.
    Because they have a killer Lunch Special & all their fortunes are the pure truth.
    Let's go there & tie on a feed bag before much longer.
    [ Not to be confused with The Belching Dragon right down the street. ]